One of the great ironies of personal grooming is that while men will happily spend twenty minutes or more fiddling with their hair, they’re strangely reluctant to give their feet anything more than a cursory once over with a showerhead. It’s ironic because regardless of how you look if your feet are foul nobody’s going to give you a second look. “Men’s feet aren’t exactly attractive to begin with so why make them even uglier by neglecting them?” I remember seeing a survey a few years ago that suggested that three quarters of us spend absolutely nothing on foot grooming products – a stat that’s put into sharp relief when you consider that almost the same percentage of us are quite happy to shell out on gear to trim our body hair. So for you men, here are a few tips to ensure that those embarrassing foot faults are kept to an absolute minimum…
A man’s toenails should never, repeat never, look like a female rapper’s fingernails. For the sake of your socks, sheets and self-respect they should be clear of dirt and neatly trimmed. In truth, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds; men often botch nail trimming by cutting down the sides of the nails (which can cause the nail to become ingrown) and by using cheap nail clippers (which can cause splitting and leave rough edges). Instead, see your podiatrist or use Toenail Scissors which give clean edges and always cut the nails squarely across the top, rather than curving the edges. Don’t cut too much off – the nail should be about level with the end of each toe. Polish is optional, obviously.
Down at the heel?
If there’s one thing that really lets men’s feet down it’s dry skin – especially that stuff around the heel. It’s particularly noticeable if you’re wearing Birkenstocks or flip-flops, so you need to file it away (and by that I don’t mean under ‘tasks you can’t be bothered to do in the pending tray).
If using a manual foot file reminds you too much of a waiter grating Parmesan onto your penne, do as I do and visit your podiatrist.
Don’t frighten people with your fur
Having hair on a man’s toes is a good sign because it means the circulation to your extremities is good. Problem is, good circulation isn’t much of a turn on, whereas toes furrier than a ferret could prove a major turn off for some. The solution? Wax them.
Be a softie
Moisturising feet might seem a rather ladylike pursuit, but in reality it has practical as well as aesthetic benefits. Moisturising is the perfect way to prevent tiny cracks and fissures appearing in the skin around the heels – cracks that don’t just look unsightly but which can become painful and prone to infection. To protect your plates opt for a specialist product such as CCS Foot Cream available from Premier Clinic which contains urea – an ingredient that works on several levels to keep skin moisturised, supple and protected. The best time to apply it is at night, just before bed, as creams tend to be better absorbed while you’re sleeping.
Fight the fungus
Fungal infections of the nail are never much fun. Not only do they cause discoloured, flaky and sometimes smelly toenails, but they’re also notoriously tricky to treat. The problem (known as Onychomycosis) often starts as a small white or yellow spot under the nail and progresses to affect the whole of the nail, causing it to crumble as the fungus munches its way through the keratin that makes up the toenail.
It’s thought up to 8pc of us will suffer at some point but you can treat it with an anti-fungal product like Mycosis Oil or Spirularin Nail Serum – available from the clinic or on line at www.premier-clinic.co,.uk Be patient though – it can take 12 months or more to get your nail back to normal. To minimise the risk of fungal nail infections keep your feet dry, your nails short, and don’t walk barefoot in the gym, locker room or around the swimming pool.
Treat yourself to a toe-job
Most of us wouldn’t think twice about seeing a dentist for a check-up and yet most men are strangers to the inside of a podiatrist or chiropodist’s treatment room. And yet feet work just as hard as teeth. If you’re worried about the state of your feet why not make a pre-sandal appointment? Your feet will certainly thank you for it. As will everyone who has to clock them through your sandals.